People raise dogs because they are useful and can contribute to the way they live. Some own dogs because they are cute and they are good pets. Each dog preference depends on the purpose and we list down versatile dogs that you can consider as your next family pet and hunting partner.
The North American Versatile Hunting Dog Association (NAVHDA), founded in 1969, is a non-profit organization that aims to train and preserve the most versatile hunting breeds. They are the largest and most successful testing and training organization in North America. Aside from conserving the game of well-trained dogs, they also advocate the prevention of irresponsible breeding and animal cruelty.
The organization describes versatility in dogs with their abilities in hunting, pointing, and retrieving. Furthermore, they recognize the breeds that have natural traits in all fields and their physical strength and agility. As of now, the organization recognized 30 different breeds that can point, hunt, and retrieve in land and water. These breeds are the ones with strong tracking skills and dominance in any game.
1. Blue Picardy Spaniel
The breed is included in the family of spaniels. They are the type of breed known to be gun dogs, that specialized in flushing and retrieving on land and water. In addition, spaniel originated in France but the meaning of the word spaniel is “Spanish dogs”.
Furthermore, the Blue Picardy spaniel comes from the line of Picardy Spaniels and English Setters. Because of that they are known to be quiet breeds but very active and would require a lot of exercises.
They are included in the list of versatile dogs because of their ability to hunt in harsher conditions. Whether it’s land or water, the breed can be entrusted with difficult terrains and challenges along the way. The breed may be quiet but display obedient characteristics and fondness for children.
2. Bracco Italiano
It is a pointing dog that comes from the land of Italy. The Italian breed was founded in 1882 and was registered in Kennel Club Italiano. Because it is considered to be a pointing dog they are specifically bird dogs and known in finding game. They belong in the pointing class of gun dogs because of their amazing instinct to point hunters. Bracco Italiano would always aim for the direction to help its owner or the companion hunter.
3. Braque Francais
The original breed of Braque Francais existed way back the fifteenth century in France and up to this day, the breed was recognized by famous registries of The Canadian Kennel Club and the United Kennel Club.
Furthermore, the breed is truly versatile dogs because they are not limited to pointing games but they can also hunt, flush and retrieve. They are suitable for any trail of terrains and prove to be useful and fast. The Braque Francais is quick to move without the need to sprint.
4. Braque du Bourbonnais
Known to be a hunter and a pointing dog that showcase authority and dominance. But, they are calm breeds and have a good temper. Meanwhile, in terms of agility, they are quick to move and easy to change direction. Although in terms of activity, they can’t go very far.
5. Braque d’Auvergne
The breed came from the mountain area of cantal in the mid-province of mid-south of France. It is a gun dog that works best in hunting and pointing. In terms of temperament, the dog is very intelligent and lively. In addition, they are the kind of dog breed that is obedient, affectionate, and sensitive. Not just that, they are also trainable and very hands-on in hunting.
6. Braque St. Germain
It is a breed that comes from the family of English and Continental Pointers around 1830 and then grew in fame at Saint German en Laye where it received the name, Braque St. German. The name, if translated in English is called St. Germain Pointing Dog.
Furthermore, they are not just for pointing and hunting but they can also be good at retrieving. What’s amazing about it is that they are very soft and won’t do any damage to the game. This breed is trustworthy and a very good pet to its owners or human family.
7. Brittany Spaniel
Another Spaniel comes from the northwest of France. And were primarily bred to hunt birds. However, the Spaniel on its name was dropped around 1982 which is why it is only called Brittany now. Although over the years the breed is known for its setting and pointing capabilities.
Brittany dogs are sweet and easy to train. Because of that, they are also recognized in their abilities to hunt, however they can be very sensitive dogs. In addition, they tend to be shy if not trained around people. That is why during their puppy years they should be taught to socialize with people. The gentle and calm nature that they have makes them a good pet and excellent companion. It is also important to note that they are those types of breeds that need constant exercise otherwise they’ll become overly attached, sensitive and active.
8. Cesky Fousek
The breed is a versatile dog because it has the natural abilities to be a pointer, hunter, and retriever. Originally came from the griffon hunting family and this breed has a mustache that is most common to the wirehairs.
Cesky Fousek is a dog that is adaptable to the environment and can be your companion in hunting on water or land. Also, they can handle difficult terrains and big games if allowed.
9. Drentsche Patrijshond
The Drentsche Patrijshond is another spaniel dog that came from Drenthe and is called Dutch Partridge dog in English. They are driven hunting dogs but can be a good family pet, and are good with children. In addition, they are sweet, loyal, and obedient to their owners.
Like other versatile dogs, the Drentsche Patrigshond dog breed is most alive outdoors and active. It’s important that as an owner you would create an exercise to keep them alert and always moving when it is not a season for hunting.
10. English Setter
It is a breed that belongs to the Setter group and when you want them to be a pet, they can be friendly and attached to families. Although they could be strong-willed, easy to train, intelligent, and obedient dog breeds in the field. English Setters can do almost everything as long as they are given proper training, food, and exercise.
11. French Spaniel
French Spaniel is a hunting dog that was developed in Canada and France. Furthermore, they are considered to be good pets and hunting buddies because of their outgoing, people pleaser, and obedient characteristics. If you will raise a French Spaniel, you will enjoy how they create a strong bond with you as an owner. Beyond that, this breed is not aggressive thus it is perfect for a family setting. They are good pets as long as they are exercised properly.
12. German Longhaired Pointer
Originally developed in Germany, the breed is a gundog and they are considered to be intelligent breeds. In addition, they are also kind, gentle, and good around children. Take note that they don’t want an inactive lifestyle, thus if you are not active yourself then best stick with popular cute dogs you can cuddle and sleep all day.
13. German Shorthaired Pointer
Related to German Longhaired Pointer but this breed has shorter hair. It allowed them to be more water-resistant and they are more flexible in the weather. Like the longhaired pointer, they are intelligent, bold, active, and easy to be trained dog breeds. Furthermore, they are perfect to be watchdogs and their vocal personality would make them the best in that field.
14. German Wirehaired Pointer
Around the 20th century, the German Wirehaired Pointer became the leading breed in the gun dog. That is because they were able to point, locate and hunt a game wounded or not. In addition, they were able to retrieve in water, easy to train, ideal watchdog, and a loving pet. Meanwhile, their temperament is also as good as their abilities because they are affectionate, loving, and loyal to their owners.
15. Gordon Setter
It is a member of a setter family that was bred to hunt gamebirds. They are confident breeds that are alert, intelligent, bold, and fearless. Not just that, as a pet they are affectionate, charming, kind, and good family dogs. In addition, Gordon Setters are protective and strong-willed which is ideal for any household.
16. Irish Red & White Setter
Identical to Irish, Gordon, and English Setters in terms of temperament. But they are the breeds that excel in locating the game through scent. When this breed is properly trained it would give you indications and directions on where you can find the game. However, you need to be patient in training them because unlike other gun dogs they may be slow in getting training and require firm lessons.
17. Irish Setter
The breed is known to be a gundog and family dog at the same time. Not only is it good in the game but they are very good and protective with children. They are also very sociable to visitors and would be friendly and kind to them. Furthermore, the breed is intelligent and always requires human companionship. That is why you can’t leave them alone because they tend to be destructive. It is required to give them long walks and exercise because they are working dogs and an inactive lifestyle does not suit them.
18. Large Munsterlander
It is another gundog that came from Germany and was founded around 1919. In terms of hunting, they are versatile and able to adjust to the environment as well as to their owner’s way of living. They are not aggressive but display a kind, good-natured characteristic that is good around kids and their dog owner.
19. Perdiguero de Burgos
The breed is a native of Spain and can be called Burgalese Pointer. They are the type of breed that would excel in small game and they have this quiet personality in hunting. But despite not being expressive, the Perdiguero de Burgos are dogs that showcase the intelligence and the ability to learn fast.
20. Picardy Spaniel
Picardy Spaniel is a hunting breed that is suited to be home and in the field. They are amazingly gentle breeds that are good with people. Not just that, the breed is easy to train and excellent in hunting ducks, rabbits, and hares. In addition, they are capable of hunting in water and won’t hesitate to jump if needed.
Pointer dog breed is developed in England and regarded as one of the best gundogs by some enthusiasts. They use their scent to locate the target and would inform their master or owner of what they’ve found. Furthermore, the breed is intelligent, obedient, and active but they are an aloof and reserved type of dog.
22. Portuguese Pointer
It is the breed that was used by some hunters to hunt a red-legged partridge bird. If you decide to raise a Portuguese Pointer then you can expect an enthusiastic and loyal dog. They are good companions and dedicated in the game but also sociable and affectionate making them a good family dog.
Originated in Germany and a crossbreed of English Pointer and German Hunting Poodle. The breed showcases the ability in pointing, hunting and retrieving between land and water. Also, It has great tracking skills using its nose and the willingness to hunt. Besides that, the breed is intelligent, easy to train, and loves water.
24. Slovakian Wirehaired Pointer
The breed comes from Slovakia and was developed after WWII. The developer wanted a breed that displays great stamina, able to track, point and retrieve in land and water. Additionally, the breed is not just for small games but for big games and targets too.
25. Small Munsterlander
It is a versatile dog breed capable of hunting, pointing, and retrieving developed in Germany. They were made to be intelligent and attentive but also made gentle and loving dogs. Furthermore, the breed requires excessive exercise as they are going to produce unwanted behavior if they are inactive.
Another Italian breed known for its versatility is the dog breed Spinone. It can work amazingly on the water despite the cold weather because it has the natural characteristics of being strong-willed and dedicated to hunting.
It came from Germany, the Stichelhaar is a pointing dog breed and was described to be an aggressive type towards strangers and prey. However, they can be tamed with training around family members to be kind and gentle.
The Vizsla is a Hungarian dog breed that has a natural nose for tracking and is considered to be outstanding in training. Also, the Vizsla dog breeds are very energetic, gentle, and caring towards the dog owner. In addition, they can also be good guard dogs and are vocal in barking towards a stranger.
Weimaraner is a large dog that was bred for the sole purpose of hunting. Royalties used this dog to hunt bears, boar, and deer. It truly has great stamina and endurance that would require robust training. In addition, the Weimaraner is a dog that has a high prey drive that they need to have the proper training to be calm and gentle.
30. Wirehaired Pointing Griffon
Functions as a gundog in hunting upland birds and waterfowls. The thick coat helps as a protection for them to be more efficient in the game. Furthermore, the breed is intelligent, caring, and people pleaser. They are good with families and good at training.
The most versatile dog breeds differ in any way and they are considered to be the best in locating, pointing, and hunting. However, for a dog breed to be versatile it needs to be trainable too. In terms of intelligence and their ability to cope with training, these dog breeds can also be active pet and guard dogs that would require exercise and proper diet based on their builds.